Chargé White to the Secretary of State.

No. 356.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that on the afternoon of the 12th instant the session of the Argentine National Congress was formally opened. The ceremonies took place for the first time in the new congress [Page 13] hall and the President of the Republic attended the same in person and presented his inaugural message, the opening and closing chapters of which he read before the joint assembly. The rest of the message was read by the secretary of the chamber.

The chapters of the message dealing with foreign affairs, the finances, and the agricultural department are especially worthy of note.

In the matter of foreign relations the President refers in no uncertain terms to the congresses that are to meet at Rio de Janeiro and The Hague:

In one or other, with the programmes arranged, the Government will support its high propositions; arbitration as the only means of arranging conflicts harmonious with the exigencies of contemporary civilization; the lack of right of States to protect through diplomatic channels or in any other way the national holders of bonds of foreign public debt; the absolute respect for their rights that emanate from sovereignty; the necessity of diminishing the evils of war on land and sea by the adoption of the measures imposed by humanitarian sentiments and by the present conception of this supreme recourse of the nations; the limitation of the contraband of war to objects specially or directly prepared for hostilities; the advisability of making more rapid the means of communication and of giving expansion to the interchange on the bases of the well understood needs of each country.

To the two conferences I shall give the attention that they demand; to that of Rio de Janeiro, by which the friendship of the nations of America will be strengthened on the most firm bases; to that at The Hague which will specify forms of conduct for the world’s application. The celebration of both will give us an opportunity to put in evidence that we desire the confraternity of the continent, augmenting thereby the political and mercantile ties, and that we also desire equal bonds with the civilized world, while simple reasons of location in any one of the great divisions of the earth do not suffice to alter the principles of the law of nations or the rules of external commerce.

The other matters of the foreign relations of this country referred to in this part of the message have received the attention of this legation during the past year.

The prosperity of the country is an established fact; the financial operations and statistics of the past year, the congested condition of all the ports of the Republic, etc., leave no room for doubt of the same. The chapter on finances recognizes the fact but soberly calls attention to a deficit of 20,000,000 pesos paper, or almost nine millions gold, for the year 1905 in spite of this prosperity and of efforts for economy. The President observes that the present prosperity offers the opportunity to put the finances of the country on a basis that will defy future reverses and sees in the uncertainty of all conditions the need to do so at once. He consequently proposes a policy of conservatism, avoiding changes that may disturb confidence and credit.

The financial operations of the past year, by which the debts of the nation were consolidated, were reported at the time; also the project for changing the monetary unit. The President declares himself in positive terms opposed to this change and in favor of the law of 1881 by which the present system was established.

The chapter on agriculture principally deals with the primary need of the country, immigration, and means of stimulating it; such as new railways and steam navigation of certain rivers, facilitating the acquirement of land by certain provision to that end, and by the establishment of a national mortgage bank, etc. Other matters of prime importance, like alteration of the mining code, a new law of trade-marks, etc., are proposed.

[Page 14]

The chapter on public works gives its first attention to the improvement of port conditions; prompt, energetic, well-planned measures to this end are of first importance.

The President has spoken openly, positively, and soberly; he is well sustained by able ministers and by a condition of prosperity and economic stability in the country such as to stir the envy of many another. With the cooperation of congress his administration will, I believe, witness great progress in its remarkable development.

I am, etc.,

Charles D. White.